Just before I get started I want to make one thing perfectly clear: this fan rant has nothing to do with me hating remakes in principle. Instead, this rant is about fame (as a movie and a concept) and a disturbing trend I noticed in the marketing for the shiny new Fame hitting theaters this fall. So let's start at the beginning, shall we? I was surfing channels whey I first happened across the latest trailer for the musical update that does a little cross-promotion with the boy-wizard, Harry Potter. So as I sat there watching this bizarre combination of Hogwarts and The School of Performing Arts, it occurred to me that this trailer seemed to almost being equating 'fame' with magic. This new version of Fame seemed to have none of the pain, suffering, and sacrifice (except of the mildest teen-angst ways imaginable) of the original -- and that's when I started to get a little ticked.

Alan Parker's Fame was a part of a larger trend in the late 70s and 80s to make 'grittier' musicals (along with films like A Chorus Line or Fosse's All That Jazz) that took the "let's put on a show" tradition of musicals and revealed all of it's flaws and the screwed-up people who inhabited the business of making fantasy. What made Fame (1980) such a stand-out for me as a young girl was that suddenly the idea of stardom didn't seem so great. Instead, it became a deal with the devil, and Parker's film seemed to keep that idea under the surface of the uplifting finale and songs about lunch programs.

After the jump: why a Fame remake has me so worked up, and a glimpse of the film that started it all...